Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

First Committee Member

Brandon Grimm, Ph.D., MPH

Second Committee Member

Christine M. Arcari, Ph.D., MPH

Third Committee Member

George Seiler, M.Ed.


Spink Area Support Network (SASN) is a skilled team of community volunteers that facilitate rural critical incident response services in an effort to prevent a critical incident and offer structured support during the aftermath. SASN was developed in response to identified gaps in rural critical incident response and risk reduction through prevention in Spink County, South Dakota. SASN utilizes a collaborative team approach to fill in gaps between first responder silos and establish community interventions by providing support and resources while utilizing critical incident stress management methods. SASN requires funding to maintain response resources, training, prevention education, and follow-up services. The capstone project will produce the requirements to apply for the Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant as a partnership and funding source. The grant requires a strategic plan, needs assessment, data collection, evaluation, and sustainability plan. Some of the footwork such as the stakeholder engagement, board, strategic plan, and needs assessment was established in the pilot year, 2019-2020. The results analysis indicates the need for a network of skilled volunteers to mobilize during events of agricultural mental health and wellbeing crises, community trauma, and natural disasters. The subsequent data that was collected for this grant had similar findings with a special focus on COVID-19 response. Resources that were developed from the current analysis are an area resource directory, crisis and COVID-19 prevention resources, and the SASN Critical Response Team (SASN CRT) manual. With these resources and the strategic plan in place the grant was submitted with all requirements and awaiting award notice. Rural, frontier populations in South Dakota will benefit from grant funding for SASN to increase efficacy of rural critical incident response.